Five-Step Framework toward Greening Your Fleet

Greening Your FleetFleet vehicles are driven hard, averaging nearly double the mileage, fuel consumption and emissions of personal vehicles. As a result, fleets are not only expensive to operate but are also a major source of global warming pollution.

However, there are five easy, cost-effective ways to go green with your fleet, as well as to reduce their environmental impacts and operating costs at the same time.

Measure Emissions and Set Goals
Understand your fleet’s current greenhouse gas emissions. Create a baseline by collecting fuel consumption data. You can use the Environmental Department of Defense’s online calculating tool (http://business.edf.org/projects/fleet-vehicles/fleet-calculator) to determine your fleet’s greenhouse gas emissions. These simple calculations allow you to track greenhouse gas emissions based
on how much fuel is consumed. From there you can develop a goal to reduce emissions and report your progress over time.

Improve Vehicle Selection
One of the most important environmental decisions for a fleet manager is which vehicles to have in the fleet. There are a few strategies to consider that may help with making the best decision, for your company, as well as for the environment.

• Evaluate total lifecycle costs, including acquisition, fuel consumption, depreciation and resale.

• Size matters. Analyze your operational needs and eliminate the excess. Four-wheel drive and 6- or 8-cylinder engines can increase costs and emissions so if you don’t need ‘em, get rid of ‘em.

• “Best in class” is best for a reason. Vehicles with the highest fuel economy that meets your firm’s price and performance needs.

• Offer employees incentives to choose more cost-effective, efficient vehicles. For example, offer sunroofs and satellite radio to those who go the environmentally friendly route.

• Incorporate hybrid trucks. There are also incentives available to help fleets in bringing down the initial cost of a hybrid when integrating them into a fleet. Trucks are responsible for 6 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and hybrids reduce GHG emissions by 30-50 percent, decrease particulate matter (PM) by 96 percent, and improve fuel economy 30-50 percent. All in all, that’s its own list of big potential savings!

Improve Vehicle Use
The way a vehicle is driven and maintained can yield significant savings, too. Educate drivers as to how they can be more efficient and drive fewer miles. Not speeding and going easy on the brakes can decrease fuel consumption and wear and tear. Routine maintenance, like regular oil changes and proper tire inflation, also increase fuel efficiency. Installing routing software, GPS systems and fuel management software can aid in your pursuit of maximizing efficiency.

Consider Carbon Offsets
The idea of a carbon offset is simple: For every ton of emissions emitted into the atmosphere, one ton is omitted somewhere else. Going green with your fleet will not totally eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, but by lowering fuel costs in high-quality carbon offset projects, you will be able to invest that extra money into savings and can effectively zero-out your fleet’s greenhouse gas impact.

Report Progress
Tell everyone you know what you’re doing. Share your information and your successes with employees, shareholders and the public. Use your data findings to fulfill reporting needs for such programs as EPA Climate Leaders or the Carbon Disclosure Project, and be sure to mention progress in reducing emissions in your company’s social responsibility or annual report. Doing any and especially all of these things will not only help the environment but it will help your bottom line.

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